12 Days of Friday, Day 3: Friday the 13th Part III: 3D

Editor Alex Vo watches a Friday the 13th movie daily until the reboot.



Day One: Saw

Click. Stop. Movie's over. Just saw Saw and, you know what, I'm actually looking forward to these movies supposedly becoming terrible because Saw the first remains an involving, and somewhat exhausting, grimy mess. I now see the appeal on the annual Saw tradition, but watching them all over a few days? Damn it, my favorite movies are Rushmore and a French comedy from 1967! I got my work cut out for me.

(And if you couldn't tell, these Saw interpretations will be spoiler-filled!)

So like most horror movies that give way to ballooning franchises, Saw starts simple. Two men -- one a photographer, the other a doctor (co-writer Leigh Whannell and Cary Elwes, respectively) -- wake up in a decrepit bathroom, both chained by the leg in opposite corners. A bloody corpse on the floor separates them. The two reason they're being punished by Jigsaw for their moral transgressions, while Elwes' character learns he has eight hours to kill Whannell or they'll both die, not to mention his wife and kid.
It's a smart blueprint, easily adapted over and over: dream up a central location of terror, and then revolve outside characters around it, racing to find the victims and/or stop Jigsaw.

The main bathroom scenes are just one long pile drive of dread and internal turmoil, but similarly impressive is director James Wan's alacrity to mix shooting styles for locations elsewhere. He uses MTV-style quick cuts and fastfowards for flashbacks of  previous traps, like the barb-wire gauntlet and the bear trap jawsplitter (featuring Shawnee Smith, who I'm aware will play a big role in the series).

Meanwhile, when inside Elwes's home, Wan dabbles in classic horror. My favorite scene is the abduction of the wife and daughter, beginning with a slow pan over the daughter's bed, an unsettling shot placed in stark contrast to Saw's typically manic tone.
Then following that with an eye peeking through the closet and red herring killer Zepp (Michael Emerson) covered in a blanket? Vintage boogeyman cinema!

But as effective the movie as a whole was, if I were Cary Elwes, I'd be mortified with this being one of my most-seen performances outside The Princess Bride. Elwes's approach was like a thespian tackling a chamber play; obviously, the bulk of the action takes place in one room, but his grandiose movements and loud line delivery is more theatre than film. It reminded me a lot of Shelly Duvall's performance in The Shining -- blown-out hysteria that generated sympathy as much as it drew you out of the movie.

Also, after sawing his foot off, doesn't he look like Will Ferrell sucked dry by the mutant Land of the Lost mosquito?
As the movie barrels towards it conclusion, the bodies start piling: Detective Tapp (Danny Glover) gets shot in the chest (after having his throat slashed and, oh yeah, going crazy after his partner gets diced by multiple shotguns), Zepp is bludgeoned by a toilet tank cover, and Adam is left to die in the bathroom. All this leads to the movie's final twist: the corpse in the room was actually Jigsaw the whole time.

I'd like to point out the Jigsaw identity reveal is the first time we get to hear Charlie Clouser's Saw theme in full, a dramatic and rousing industrial theme that goes a long way in selling this plot twist. Just further proof if you want to get a horror series going, better nail down that song.
Body count: 7, including Elwes (c'mon, he is so dead)

Most inventive trap: The reverse bear trap. A bear trap's freaky enough, but then making it go backwards? All kinds of genius there.

Stupid person in a horror movie moment: Monica Potter wrestles the gun away from Zepp but then, rather than shooting him, tries to hold him at bay while talking on a phone and tending to her daughter. When has that ever worked?

See Saw schedule:
  • Day 1 (10/15): Saw (2004)
  • Day 2 (10/16): Saw II (2005)
  • Day 3 (10/19): Saw III (2006)
  • Day 4 (10/20): Saw IV (2007)
  • Day 5 (10/21): Saw V (2008)
  • Day 6 (10/23): Saw VI (2009)

Comments

inactive user

Jared King

And I thought I was the only one who remembered "Rad Racer".

Excellent overview, I've actually seen this one and it is kind of funny. This film series is bad but, they have laughs. I love how you call one of Jason's weapons "Sharp Pokey Thing". LOL.

Feb 4 - 07:12 PM

tomwaitsjrHAPPYICONOCLAST

Greg Guro

Alex Vo,

Thanks! You watch these films, so we don't have to.

I'd appreciate it if amongst your summary totals, you include how Jason Dies. . . or doesn't.

Kudos!

Feb 4 - 07:42 PM

jihad

jud winter

tomwaitsjr jason doesent die in any apart from the 4th movie,in which he comes back zombie anyway ,and in one of the worst movies he gets sent to hell.

Feb 4 - 08:07 PM

Alex Vo

Alex Vo

Part of the fun in slashers is in seeing how they kill the monster, so that's a good suggestion. FYI, this is the one Jason gets hung from the barn window. It's great.

Also, if people need to be reminded of the rad disco theme:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODm01T3zY-w

Feb 4 - 08:18 PM

jrod1978

jarrod taylor

I loved the rad disco theme. It sets the tone of this movie so well.

Feb 4 - 11:42 PM

prestonkm

Preston Matlock

Like I said about your overview for "Friday the 13th Part 2", keep up the great work. This was my most enjoyable read so far. Like ledawg said, "Sharp Pokey Thing". LOL. Keep up the great work Alex!

Feb 4 - 07:50 PM

tomwaitsjrHAPPYICONOCLAST

Greg Guro

Sometimes when I get really drunk I show people my "Sharp Pokey Thing."

But, after this third arrest I'm pretty sure I won't do that anymore. . . unless I hide my visage by wearing a HOCKEY MASK!

*hysterical laughter*

Also,

Which film started that annoying "suspense building" that went something like "Kill Kill Kill Kill. . . Jason Jason Jason Jason."

Feb 4 - 08:01 PM

jihad

jud winter

tomwaitsjr jason doesent die in any apart from the 4th movie,in which he comes back zombie anyway ,and in one of the worst movies he gets sent to hell.

Feb 4 - 08:07 PM

Alex Vo

Alex Vo

Part of the fun in slashers is in seeing how they kill the monster, so that's a good suggestion. FYI, this is the one Jason gets hung from the barn window. It's great.

Also, if people need to be reminded of the rad disco theme:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODm01T3zY-w

Feb 4 - 08:18 PM

jrod1978

jarrod taylor

I loved the rad disco theme. It sets the tone of this movie so well.

Feb 4 - 11:42 PM

Drew J.

Drew Johnson

I am so happy that you are doing these. I did this marathon about two years ago and it was insanely fun.

For Part III, did you have 3D glasses available to watch it? If you did, how did you get ahold of those and how 3D was it?

Feb 4 - 08:46 PM

Alex Vo

Alex Vo

They re-released parts 1, 2, and 3 on Tuesday on DVD and Blu-Ray. 1 is uncut, 2 probably has some new special features, and 3 has the 3D version (packaged with a pair of paper glasses).

The 3D works as well as you could hope for an old movie like this. Things don't really pop out, but the screen does feel "layered": objects in the foreground are sharper and those in the back are slightly fuzzed. The colors are extremely muted in the 3D version though so the movie can feel very gloomy.

Feb 4 - 08:58 PM

Launy The Schwartz

Launy Schwartz

I always loved seeing how they off the killer. I looked forward to that more than seeing who would live. I'll wait til' a later sequel to reveal my fav.

I meant what I said before Alex, good dialogue can lead to a better understanding. Sorry if I was a bit standoffish...

Feb 4 - 09:01 PM

Alex Vo

Alex Vo

No worries. If I didn't think you had some valid concerns, I wouldn't have replied at all.

Feb 4 - 09:22 PM

Alex Vo

Alex Vo

No worries. If I didn't think you had some valid concerns, I wouldn't have replied at all.

Feb 4 - 09:22 PM

RamALamADingDong

That Guy

Watching it now I miss the verite style camera. Combined with Tom Savini's make-up it gave the first two a kind of rough and gritty realistic feel and differentiated them from Halloween and other slasher flicks.

Feb 4 - 09:52 PM

inactive user

Jared King

Jewfro's are immortal.

Feb 4 - 10:10 PM

Todd R.

Todd Rozell

Friday 3 is pretty lame, but it is the one with the barn, so it's got that going for it.

And, it is the first one with the mask. Never seen it in 3D, but I bet it's not that much better with it. One of the weaker entries in the franchise, but it's not the worst movie ever.

Feb 4 - 10:35 PM

RT-Ryan

RT-Ryan .

Alex, that disco theme is absolutely incredible. We MUST get that on vinyl!

Feb 4 - 11:19 PM

jrod1978

jarrod taylor

I loved the rad disco theme. It sets the tone of this movie so well.

Feb 4 - 11:42 PM

Zaraki

Rick V

That theme was funny as hell! Another good read.

Feb 5 - 01:07 AM

R A.

R Agee

Those were some pretty cool shots of Jason hanging from the barn at the end. Is it just me, or does Jason seem a little bit more pissed off in this one than in Part 2?

Feb 5 - 08:53 AM

Wayne C.

Wayne Campbell

No way, dude. Black guy actually dies last, if you can believe it (unless you count Jason, but really, who ever does?).

Feb 5 - 09:37 AM

jihad

jud winter

this is probelly the best of the first 3, but jason also leaked a bit too chubby in this movie,the characters are more entertaining this time around aswell,and jason has a few creative kills like always(one thing i think jason has always had over micheal myeers).

Feb 5 - 12:43 PM

BrokebackYoda

Jake Rooney

Jason Goes to Hell and Jason X are the worst in the series...i think.

Feb 5 - 02:44 PM

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